NBA Live 09 Review
Xbox 360 | PS3 | Wii
NBA Live 09 box art
System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: EA Canda 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: EA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 7, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-4 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

There are many other noticeable in-game issues which reoccur from last year. Collision issues happen pretty frequently. I noticed instances where players will completely glide through each other or a ball will bounce through someone’s midsection. It seems some framerate issues have been improved from last year, such as the visually horrendous in-bounding glitch after a scored bucket as players shudder their way up court.

NBA Live 09 screenshot

While they fixed that error, shuddering and skipping still occurs, making the game look unpolished and still in need of work. You’ll notice some players stepping over the sideline with the ball and not getting called for it and other flaws that make EA’s attempt at a basketball simulation far from realistic. Overall, observing a game with ten players moving around onscreen really isn’t impressive as they habitually flicker about. It is especially disappointing to think that all these issues haven’t been worked out in the year EA has spent trying to improve their title.

Another change from last year is the way free-throws are shot, which is gauged by a sloppy-looking meter that runs along the top of the backboard. You must tap a face button to begin filling the meter, then hit it again when it fills to a gap indicated by a different color. How big the gap is depends on the player’s natural ability to sink a free-throw, and filling your meter to the proper colored area will allow him to sink it successfully. I found last year’s analog pull-back and push-forward free-throw mechanic to work very well, and I don’t really see why EA felt they needed to change it. At the very least, they could have made a more visually appealing meter than the one they’ve whipped up.

Off-court, stadiums are very well detailed and crowd animations are pretty decent, and spectators look three-dimensional yet move somewhat robotically. In all, anyone who has played an NBA Live game in the past couple of years won’t be overly impressed with the slightly improved graphics. Player likenesses still have no consistency either. Some players look incredibly like their real-life counterpart, whereas other athletes only somewhat resemble who they’re supposed to look like. In the opening menus, the little practice gym has been given a tweak. The central hub not only allows you to shoot around and kill time before loading up a game, but now large screens show saved replays in the background. This simple and enjoyable touch is a welcome addition, and it is stuff like this EA should continue to work on in the coming years.

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NBA Live 09 is definitely a step up from last year and a leap ahead from 07, but it definitely needs further improvements when it comes to how you actually play the game. Though EA is doing all they can to create a realistic basketball sim, there are far too many blatant errors in their formula that make it far from perfect. The inclusion of new online features may not be enough to make up for repetitively frustrating mechanics.

By Pete Richards
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.3
Graphics
Well detailed stadiums and decent player models draw the player into the action. Unfortunately, off-court graphics are overshadowed by choppy in-game animations and framerate issues.
3.7
Control
Inclusion of new Pick and Roll Control adds a variety of offensive possibilities, though work still needs to be done on the defensive end.
3.8
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great stadium ambience enhances the play experience. Commentating is non-repetitive, yet isn’t overly exciting.
3.2
Play Value
New features such as Dynamic DNA may not be convincing enough to purchase this title, as gameplay is somewhat spoiled by incomprehensive controls. Both Dynasty and Be a Pro offer little new to the series for those who own last year’s title.
3.5
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Dynamic DNA: The brain behind the game is powered by Synergy Sports Technology, the premier analytics provider using NBA data for over 20 NBA teams, which evaluates Player DNA that breaks down how a player scores, Team DNA that rates how the players on the floor play as a unit and Tendencies that refer to the percentage a player drives left, right or shoots from each spot on the floor
  • NBA Live 365 takes it to a whole new level of connectivity, providing you an unprecedented level of authenticity and realism. Now every game truly is different powered by Dynamic DNA data updating daily.
  • FIBA expanded with 24 national teams to choose from. Compete in an international tournament using authentic FIBA rosters and teams including, the United States, Spain, France, and more.
  • 5 vs. 5 Online Team Play: All 10 players on the court can now be controlled by users on 10 different consoles around the world. Now the game outcome can be completely dependent on how you play as an online team.
  • Extend your Game with EA Sports World: Create your own highlight reel then upload the video to EA Sports World to prove your passion to the world.


  • Screenshots / Images
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